Hollywood has always been challenged when it comes to coming up with good roles for women, and that’s doubly true for actresses, who upon reaching middle age suddenly find the supply of decent roles drying up. This makes the competition even more fierce for quality parts out, so Jessica Chastain wants to see them spread around a little more.
“I’m really, really supportive of women in Hollywood. I love Meryl Streep. She’s such an incredible actress. But I feel like she’s the only one in her age group who gets those parts. I’d like to see Jessica Lange in a movie again, you know? Or Susan Sarandon. Why isn’t Viola Davis a lead in a film? She’s one of the greatest actresses alive,” Chastain told Glamour (via New York Daily News).
“And where are the Asian actors and actresses?” she asks. “I’m not saying, ‘we don’t want movies about men.’ I’m just saying, ‘come on, all the men I know love women. So let’s also have some stories about these women. Let’s write something for them, guys —and let’s make room for women writers, too.'”
While Chastain’s enthusiasm is appreciated, it should be noted that Lange has been earning a sea of accolades and won Emmys for her work on “American Horror Story” and has a role in the forthcoming “The Gambler” with Mark Wahlberg. Two-time Oscar nominee Davis is currently leading ABC‘s acclaimed series “How To Get Away With Murder,” and also stars in Michael Mann‘s upcoming “Blackhat.” Indeed, both Lange and Davis appear to have recognized that prestige television offers actors or directors plenty of creatively fulfilling work. As for Sarandon? Yes, she does need to be seen in more than the string of indie fare she’s been in lately, though she did have a supporting role in Melissa McCarthy‘s “Tammy.”
Still, Chastain does have a broader point about Hollywood narratives rarely focusing on female leads or telling stories about women regardless of age. The industry continues to do a poor job of making big or small films from a female perspective, which in turns makes options limited for actresses looking for complex, interesting roles. We’re sure Chastain’s comments will once again stoke those discussions and debates around this issue, so if you have thoughts, let us know below.